This week's items: Pinellas court system goes digital with new equipmentGina Grimes joinsHill Ward law firmAndrew Greenberg wins national awardBarr Murman hires associateAlpha-Omega Title hires Lincoln as legal counsel
Legal Briefs (Tampa edition)
Pinellas court system goes
digital with new equipment
The Pinellas-Pasco court system unveiled its new digital court reporting system at an all-day open house at the Clearwater criminal courthouse on April 1.
The circuit is using a computerized setup from Massachusetts-based CourtSmart, which will digitally record most routine court matters, through the use of microphones, video cameras and computer equipment.
So far, so good, says Pinellas County Judge Pat Caddell, whose courtroom is one of the first to use the system.
Because of a court reporter shortage, the county criminal judges have been relying on a recording system since about January, he says. The new system was a must have.
Although court reporters will still be required to attend hearings and trials in the most serious cases, the system should help the circuit better keep up with an ever-increasing caseload.
In the past, court reporters attended hearings to make a permanent record of all said during the proceedings. Transcripts, needed to appeal a judge's decision, sometimes take months or years due to the court reporter shortage.
Without an accurate transcript, it's difficult, if not impossible, for appellate courts to rule in some cases.
CourtSmart, which cost about $20,000 per courtroom, has been installed in eight Clearwater courtrooms, with another 14 courtrooms due to get the system by July 1.
It will also be installed in Dade City's four courtrooms.
Eight microphones pick up conversations throughout the courtroom, while a technician who works in a remote control room monitors as many as four courtrooms at once, electronically marking the recordings at critical points in the proceeding.
If an attorney or judge needs a question played back, a message can be relayed to the control room, and a digital recording will be played over a speaker system. Five technicians now work in the Clearwater control room.
The system has a built-in fail-safe. A backup system turns itself on each day at 7:30 a.m. and records until 8 p.m.
Caddell says that's a good thing since everyone is still getting used to pushing the buttons.
Gina Grimes joins
Hill Ward law firm
Gina K. Grimes, former chief assistant Tampa city attorney, is a new senior associate in the real estate practice group at Hill Ward & Henderson PA.
wins national award
Carlton Fields attorney Andrew Greenberg recently received a national award from an affiliate of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc., the world's largest technical professional group for engineers.
The group honored Greenberg's contributions in the area of intellectual property rights. He is vice chairman of IEE-USA's intellectual property committee.
The award specifically recognizes his work in the U.S. Supreme Court case, Festo Corp. v. Shoketsu Kinzoku Kogyo Kabushiki Co., Ltd. He led a team of 10 that submitted amicus curiae briefs on behalf of the engineering group. The court adopted the team's "foreseeable bar" standard on patent rights.
It also recognizes Greenberg's pro bono work with colleague Matthew Conigliaro in Baystate Technologies Inc. v. Howard L. Bowers.
John V. Trujillo Jr. is a new associate at Barr Murman Tonelli Slother & Sleet, Tampa.
He will focus on civil litigation matters. A graduate of Florida State University, Trujillo earned a law degree in 2002 from the South Texas College of Law.
Alpha-Omega Title hires
Lincoln as legal counsel
Leonard T. Lincoln is the new in-house legal counsel at Alpha-Omega Title Co., one of Hillsborough County's largest independent title insurance agencies.
He previously served as president of Lincoln Title Services in Tampa, an agent of Attorney's Title Insurance Fund Inc. He also had worked at First American Title Insurance Co.
Carlton Fields elects
Walbolt to sixth term
St. Petersburg attorney Sylvia Walbolt recently won her sixth re-election as chair of the Carlton Fields PA board of directors. Besides her management duties, Walbolt also serves as chair of the firm's appellate practice and trial support group. Her work as an appellate attorney has appeared in more than 215 published opinions.
Her work earned her the designation by The National Law Journal as one the Top 10 Women Litigators. She also is one of the first women elected as a fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers, a former president of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers and the first female president of The Florida Bar Foundation.
The law firm also elected the following Tampa Bay area shareholders: David R. Punzak and Gary L. Sasso, St. Petersburg; and Chris S. Coutroulis, Richard A. Denmon, Ruth Barnes Kinsolving, Edgel C. Lester Jr., Luis Prats, Thomas A. Snow and Robert A. Soriano, Tampa.
published by ABA
Daniel W. Anderson of Tampa's Forizs & Dogali PL has been published in the winter edition of the American Bar Association's The Air & Space Lawyer. Anderson's article is titled, "In Pursuit of 'Natural Quiet': The Latest on Noise for Airports and Airlines."